When there’s discrimination or harassment present in the workplace, it creates a hostile work environment, which can be an ongoing and long-term problem until it’s addressed. The environment is difficult for employees to work in and can lead to demotions, pay cuts and a lack of respect for employees in California.
Hostile work environments often include discrimination against employees of a specific gender, race, religion, national origin or sexual orientation. You may ask the behavior to stop or report it to the human resources department, but it continues. The behavior may also be rude or obnoxious.
How to improve a hostile work environment
If you want to create a safe and healthy environment where employees can thrive, it’s important to schedule meetings and training sessions each quarter to inform your team about rules and guidelines in the workplace. Research discrimination laws to ensure the rules help to prevent the behavior. Posting the rules in common areas like the break room can also remind your employees of the guidelines.
Have a plan in place for complaints to be filed to ensure investigations are performed. You should have a system set up that allows employees to anonymously report any behavior that feels uncomfortable or affects how well they work.
Should you seek legal services?
One of the best ways to respond to working in a hostile work environment is to contact an attorney with experience in discrimination law. You can take this step after reporting the behavior to your supervisor or HR department and consult an attorney to determine if the behavior is illegal. You can learn more about how to prepare for the legal process and even attempt to settle with the company outside of court with the services of an attorney.